Apple sent COO Tim Cook and other executives to its Foxconn facility in 2010 after a rash of suicides attracted massive media attention, according to a company report.
responded quickly to a rash of worker suicides at the Foxconn facility that
fabricates many of its products, according to the company's annual supplier
As detailed in
, Apple claims it launched a high-level investigation into
the 12 suicide attempts that took place at Foxconn throughout the first half of
2010. The facility also manufactures products for Dell, Nokia and
Hewlett-Packard, which also promised last summer they would look into factory
conditions workers faced.
experts accompanied Apple COO Tim Cook and other Apple executives on a visit to
the Shenzhen factory in June 2010," reads the report. "This group met with
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou and members of his senior staff to better understand the
conditions of the site and to assess the emergency measures Foxconn was putting
in place to prevent more suicides."
it commissioned an independent "team of suicide-prevention experts" to survey
Foxconn workers about their quality of life, a process that apparently involved
interviewing those workers separately from their managers, as well as reviewing
the factory's living conditions.
independent team suggested several areas for improvement, such as better
training of hotline staff and care center counselors and better monitoring to
ensure effectiveness," the report continues. "Foxconn incorporated the team's
specific recommendations into their long-term plans for addressing employee
plans include the start up of an EAP (employee assistance program) apparently
focused on social-support networks and "maintaining employee mental health."
review uncovered a number of suppliers in violation of the company's code of
conduct. Some 76 facilities, for example, exceeded Apple's weekly working-hour
limits "more than 50 percent of the time," while another 95 violated policies
related to administrative controls. Another 64 facilities violated engineering
controls, running machines with missing safety devices or that were improperly
maintained. About 37 facilities failed to monitor and control air emissions,
and 54 facilities "did not have a company statement on social and environmental
responsibility that covered all categories of Apple's Code."
also brought to light some 91 cases of underage workers. "We intensified our
search for underage labor in 2010," Apple claims the report, "interviewing more
workers and further scrutinizing recruiting practices, employment records and
worker IDs, especially where third-party labor agencies and schools were
2010, Apple completed first-time audits of 97 facilities and repeat audits of
another 30, for an apparent total of 288 supplier facilities audited since
2007. The company's stated goals include preventing the hiring of underage
workers, protecting the rights of immigrant workers, and mapping the use of
potential conflict minerals such as tantalum and tungsten.
not a sweatshop," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told conference goers at the All Things
Digital conference in 2010, according
to published reports
. "You go in this place and it's a factory but, my
gosh, they've got restaurants and movie theaters and hospitals and swimming
pools. For a factory, it's pretty nice."
summer's rash of suicides, Foxconn announced it would raise wages at the
factory an average of 20 percent, even as it faced additional pressure from the
Chinese government to address the situation and the worldwide media attention
resulting from it.